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Huskers, 'Canes stay 1-2

Nebraska won big, Miami didn't, but both unbeatens remained on course to play for a national championship in the Rose Bowl.

The Cornhuskers held first place and the Hurricanes were second in the Bowl Championship Series standings released Monday, with third-place Oklahoma gaining ground on Miami.

Nebraska, 11-0 after a 31-21 victory over Kansas State on Saturday, strengthened its lead atop the rankings that determine who plays in Pasadena on Jan. 3. The Huskers have 2.20 points under the BCS formula, while the Hurricanes, 8-0 after an 18-7 win over Boston College, followed with 7.31 points.

The Sooners had 7.89 points, just .58 behind Miami.

Oregon moved up two spots to fourth place. The Ducks have 11.97 points, just ahead of fifth-place Florida, seventh last week, with 11.98.

NYT MAKES ROOM FOR USF: The polls and computer rankings can get confusing, but one that has been around for a long time is a computer operated by the New York Times. And it thinks highly of South Florida.

The Bulls are ranked No. 32 by the New York Times, ahead of such high-profile schools as Ohio State (38), Notre Dame (43) and Alabama (49).

Besides its 7-3 record and string of five consecutive blowout wins, the main reason USF is rated highly is because its opponents are rated highly. Utah is No. 13 and Pittsburgh is No. 36. USF's strength of schedule should remain strong in the rankings because Utah State, its final opponent Nov. 24, is No. 48.

Before the season, most publications projected USF, a first-year Division I-A program, to be close to the bottom of the 117 I-A teams. At least one rated the Bulls last.

"It's nice to know that somebody thinks we've done some good things, but I don't make too much of it," said coach Jim Leavitt, who gave his team Monday off since it doesn't play Saturday. "I know we've improved as a team this season, and that's what's important. Some people didn't think we'd win three games."

'CUSE GETS UM'S ATTENTION: Miami coach Larry Coker said he is not surprised Syracuse has rallied from an 0-2 start. The Orangemen have won eight in a row as they enter Saturday's game against the top-ranked Hurricanes at the Orange Bowl.

"They did a great job of getting refocused after a couple tough losses and are getting on a roll," Coker said. "I knew they had a chance to be very good, and they've been able to do that."

UM's Todd Sievers was named Big East special teams player of the week after kicking four field goals Saturday at Boston College.

BYU: Reno Mahe, the team's leading receiver, will miss Saturday's game against Utah after having an emergency appendectomy.

BOSTON COLLEGE: Running back William Green, a Heisman Trophy contender before he was suspended for Saturday's game against No. 1 Miami, rejoined the team and said he has no plans to leave early for the NFL draft. "The NFL is the last thing on my mind right now," Green said in his first comments since he was suspended for an unspecified violation of team rules. Green leads the nation in rushing at 145.5 yards a game. But just before the team's biggest game of the season last week, the school announced Green would not play. He also missed last season's Aloha Bowl under similar circumstances. A report in the Boston Globe on Saturday said Green had decided to leave school.

MICHIGAN: Coach Lloyd Carr signed a two-year contract extension that ties him to the school through 2008. Carr keeps his $1.1-million annual salary, but the fund he can use to pay his assistants will increase to $155,000 from $55,000.

MISSOURI: Three players were suspended for the Nov. 24 game at Kansas State. Junior defensive end Antwaun Bynum, senior punter Jared Gilpin and redshirt freshman punter Brock Harvey were suspended for violating team standards, which coach Gary Pinkel did not specify.

SAN DIEGO STATE: Ted Tollner, who has won five games the past two seasons, was fired. He coaches his last game Saturday against Wyoming.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Lou Holtz gave his team a rare day off after its 54-17 loss to Florida. "I've never done that, but I just felt our players really need it," he said. Linebacker Kalimba Edwards is out for the season with a knee sprain, and quarterback Phil Petty has a sore shoulder and is questionable for Saturday against Clemson.

TANGERINE BOWL: Visit Florida _ the state's public-private tourism marketing corporation _ will sponsor the Dec. 20 game, officials said.

UCLA: Coach Bob Toledo isn't counting on DeShaun Foster to play against rival USC on Saturday, and won't allow the running back to practice until he is reinstated by the NCAA. Foster was declared ineligible last week because of an extra benefits violation.

PLAYER CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING REF: A Rocky Mountain player was arrested for assaulting a referee after a season-ending overtime loss. Marlon Grier, a 5-foot-11 senior linebacker, was booked Saturday in Havre, Mont., on charges of assaulting a game official, according to Hill County undersheriff Don Brostrom. Witnesses said Grier sprinted across the field after Rocky Mountain lost at Montana State-Northern 31-28 on a field goal in the NAIA game and ran into referee Rick Deady as he was leaving the field. Rocky Mountain had touchdowns called back at the end of regulation and on the first play of overtime. Jim Simpson, head of football officials for the Frontier Conference, said Grier ran about 70 yards and plowed into Deady, who was knocked to the ground but not seriously hurt.

_ Staff writer Pete Young contributed to this report.

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